Common Names “Snow Leopard” (English)
‘Hiun Chituwa’ (Nepali)
Synonyms ‘Uncia uncia’
Discover the mountain valleys of Nepal on foot with a knowledgeable guide who has experience tracking leopards in order to spot the fascinating snow leopards. Tiger Encounter has developed the Snow Leopard Encounter in Nepal package to track and encounter the enigmatic snow leopard prowling freely in its natural habitat.
We are focusing on the Snow Leopard Encounter in Nepal in the Manang Region of Annapurna Conservation Area as snow leopards are mostly sighted and documented in this area as per our previous experience. The snow leopards are visible during the cold months of December to March. The best time to encounter the snow leopard is February to mid-March because these months are their mating period. During the mating period, male snow leopard yowls attract females and their paw marks are visible in the snow during the winter which makes it easier to track them.
You will be guided by our experienced leading guide, scientists, and trained naturalists in the snow leopard territory early in the morning, track the snow leopards the whole day, and return to the hotel in the evening. For your accommodation, we manage a double room of high standard for the whole trip with delicious meals. You may stay in lodges throughout these tracking tour days, but you may also need to remain in a tent or a homestay at times for tracking purposes. Our guides will handle these all arrangements including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Due to their elusiveness and rare sightings, snow leopards (Uncia Uncia/ Panthera Unica) is referred to as the “ghosts of the mountains.” In the mountains of Nepal, local people call them God’s Pet based on their deep-rooted culture and belief. Buddhists believe that harming any animals is a sin and advocate empathizing with the pain the animals go through. They are sparsely distributed in the South Asian and central Nepali mountains.
Snow leopards are well protected from the cold by their stunning spotted white-greyish coat. Their tail, which may extend from 80 to 105 meters, helps keep their body in equilibrium. Their primary prey is blue sheep, which fills their bellies for a week. They also consume ibex, marmots, Himalayan tahr, pika, hares, small rodents, and game birds in addition to blue sheep.
Their natural habitats are rough, steep high mountain terrains. They prefer cliffs, rugged terrain, and ravines since they are high-altitude acrobats. They can move and remain agile in steep, rocky terrain due to their short forelimbs and long hind legs.
While 600 to 700 Snow Leopards are kept in captivity in zoos all over the world, it is expected that 3500 to 7000 of them live in the wild. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists them as vulnerable due to a decline in their natural prey base, deforestation, human settlements, livestock grazing, poaching, habitat loss, habitat deterioration, and global warming. They are a very rare species of leopard that is on the verge of extinction.
Along the Chinese border in Nepal, snow leopard sightings are possible. Snow leopards are found living in Nepal’s mountain protected areas, including the Annapurna Conservation Area, Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, Api Namba Conservation Park, Manaslu Conservation Area, Langtang National Park, Makalu Barun National Park, Sagarmatha National Park, and Shey Phokshundo National Park. 350–500 snow leopards are often expected in Nepal.
Our main snow leopard tracking trails in Manang are Ice Lake trail, Agnu Milapche trail, Gunsang and Pripche trail, Khangsar trail, Yakkharka trail and the Ledar trail. You will be provided with some footage of Snow Leopard tracked in the camera, satellite-GPS Collars for more information about their habitat and nature. The alpine and sub-alpine zones (i.e. 3,000-5,400m), where vegetation is scarce, are the prime habitat known for snow leopard. They are found in 12 nations, consisting Nepal, Siberia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, China, Tibet, India, and Bhutan. They are also found in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Snow Leopard Encounter in Nepal! Well, Nepal has a completely untrodden and unexplored trail! There must be a minimum of 2 people. Season and group size will affect the final cost. Please contact us for your personal quote.
Snow Leopard Encounter in Nepal trip itineraries are customizable; according to your choice & the number of days you want to stay. Simply, Contact Us
See for yourself all that you have read and watched on the internet, about the tranquil beauty of Nepal and the warm hospitality of Nepalese. Get ready to experience Nepal up close and personal. You must have an impatient heart for a breathtaking adventure in Nepal. After flying through the beautiful view of this trekkers' paradise, you will meet our company representative waiting with a placard with your name or company name on it at the airport who will greet and warmly receives you. Then, we will transfer you to your booked hotel or our recommended hotel at Thamel. Once you check in at the hotel, get refreshed and be ready for the briefing about the tour.
There is a lot to see and do in Thamel. If you have an early arrival, you may stroll around the hippest and most happening area in Thamel, where you can find restaurants with varieties of cuisine to dine at. This first night in the country, you will be staying in Kathmandu.
On your second day, you can go sightseeing in some of the famous religious and historical sites of Kathmandu. After exploring this city of temples; you will meet your tour guide at the hotel. You will be briefed in detail about the wildlife adventure. The guide will also assist you with any last-minute shopping that you require for the safari.
Have a well-rested night at Kathmandu before heading off to the wildlife.
(You can dump the stuff you do not want during the trek at the hotel or our office store.)
After a good morning meal you will be traveling to Besisahar, the entry point of Annapurna Circuit Trekking. A private van will be waiting for you at the hotel parking hop on and get ready to ride. Once you leave Kathmandu Valley through the check post at Nagdhunga, the ride will be exciting. The road might be bumpy with lots of twists and turns.
However, the eagerness for adventure and the views of the hills, forests, and terraced farmlands will make it a noteworthy experience. Pulling over occasionally for tea/coffee, snacks and toilet breaks you will drive through Dhading, Chitwan, and Tanahu districts to reach Lamjung. 6-7 hours of this fun-filled ride will take you to Besisahar. You can spend the rest of the evening taking a rest and preparing for the next day.
Wake up early in the morning, enjoy breakfast at the lodge and resume the ride to Chame. Today you will drive for 7-8 hours on Besisahar -Chame Highway along the Marsyangdi River. Following the river, the road will lead you through Upper Marsyandhi Hydropower Project to Bhulbhule (820 m). If the weather favors then you can get your first glance of the mountains from Bhulbhule. A glimpse of Ngadi Chuli (7,871 m) Himal Chuli North (7,331 m) and Himal Chuli (7,893 m) will definitely entice you for more. Ride through Bahundanda stopping over at Chamche waterfall for some clicks.
Ride through the stone entrance at Dharapani (1,810 m) to beautiful villages and serene forests of pine and oak. Along with the miraculous views of Mt. Manaslu, Lamjung Himal, and Annapurna II where the Himalayan Cats live. On the way, you will see the long wall with prayer wheels at Danakyu (2,220 m). Riding through the village of Timang (2,620 m), Thanchok (2,660 m), and Koto (2,660 m) you will reach Chame.
On this day you will ride to Manang which will take 2-3 hours. This day in Manang is perfect to wear off your travel exhaustion and prepare for the trek. While at Manang, you can spend your day exploring the village of Manang and experience their unique culture and lifestyle. Gurungs and Ghales are the inhabitants of Manang. These people depend on tourism and agriculture for their livelihood. However, the cold climate limits them to cultivate only wheat, barley, buckwheat, potatoes, and beans. The view of Gangapurna Glacier is terrific, either from the viewpoint above the lake or from the Praken Gompa, an hour's walk above Manang in the evening.
If you want to spend the rest day without doing much walking then there are places like Manang Cultural Museum, Bodzo Gumba, and cafes with better food options and internet. Manang is a major trading center and you can buy batteries, sunscreen, and chocolate.
Tashi R. Ghale (an inhabitant of the region & leading guide for this trek) has more than 20 years of encounter in wildlife photography in the valley and has sighted snow leopards. In the evening, he will give us a slide show presentation about mammals, birds, and reptiles.
After Pisang, we have alternate paths north and south of the Marsyangdi River that meets up again at Mungji. The southern route by Hongde, with its airstrip, at 3325m involves less climbing than the northern route via Ghyaru, despite the fact that there are better views on the trail that follows the northern bank of the river. From Mungji, the trail continues past the quaint but partially hidden village of Bryanga at 3475m to nearby Manang at 3500m.
Walking along the valley through the drier upper part of Manang (the unofficial trekking capital of the Annapurna Circuit) we can view the Annapurna range. People of this area herd yaks and raise crops for leaving, besides this during winter they move to other places for trades.
Our main tracking trail would be:
After the completion of our trip of Encountering Snow Leopard, we will return back to Besisahar by private 4WD Jeep.
After this wonderful trip, you will drive back to Kathmandu from Besisahar
Once you reach Kathmandu you will check-in at a nice hotel around the Thamel area. At the evening you can stroll around for souvenir shopping, drinks, and dinner. Walking around Thamel and nearby areas for shopping and self-exploring the narrow streets of this tourist hub is a good idea to spend your evening in Kathmandu.
Your adventurous tour concludes today. It is time to bid farewell! Our company representative will meet you at your hotel and drop you at the airport according to your flight schedule for your return flight home. It is good to be at the airport at least 2 hours before your departure to complete the airport check-in on time. Tiger Encounter hopes to take you on another exciting wildlife safari in Nepal soon.
Manang is located in the Himalayan region of the Western part of Nepal where the snow leopard encounter is done. To reach there you should travel from Kathmandu to Besisahar to Chame to Manang in 3 days with 6 to 8 hours a day.
Best physical condition is required to trek in Nepal’s high altitude. Without some pre-trek training or a good level of basic fitness, it can be hard. We suggest running, walking, hiking on the hill, and climbing stairs rather than elevators to prepare for the trek. Include swimming, rowing, and biking in your daily base training.
Basic further experience and strength required for Trekking
We will meet pickup you from Internatinal Airport
Passport & Visa:
Safety precautions for Annapurna Conservation Areas:
Basic Facts about Snow Leopards
The snow leopards have thick light grey fur with a black spot on the head and neck. Their tails are bushy and long while the legs are short, making them slightly smaller than other wild cats. The short legs are powerful enough to leap and jump as far as 50 feet. Likewise, the long bushy tails are useful for balancing and covering sensitive parts against severe mountain chills. They are about 22 inches tall and 30 – 59 inches long weighing between 22 – 55 kg however some large males have been recorded weighing up to 75 kg. They have 1.13 inches long pointed teeth.
The Snow leopards are highly adaptive to their habitat in the cold mountains. Their ears are small and round to minimize heat loss. Likewise, their paws are aboard to balance the body weight of walking on snow. Similarly, their thick fur patterned with dark rosettes and spots is the perfect camouflage for their rocky habitat. The long dense and woolly fur also protects them from cold. They also use their bushy tails as a blanket while resting.
Diet and Hunting
The snow leopards are an opportunist and feed on carrion as well. However, these carnivorous cats actively hunt their prey. They are capable of killing most of the animals in their range. They pursue the prey down the steep mountainsides. Using the momentum of their leap they kill with a bite on the neck and drag the prey to a safer location to eat.
Their natural prey is Himalayan tahr, blue sheep, wild goats, etc. They usually prefer prey weighing 36 to 76 kg but also hunt smaller mammals. Other species such as wild boar, red panda, and snowcock also become their prey sometimes. They eat all the edible parts of their prey and can survive on one Himalayan tahr for two weeks. Due to the loss of prey animals in their natural habitat, they also feed on domestic livestock resulting in conflict with the herders. They hunt in pairs, especially during mating season.
Reproduction and lifecycle
Snow leopards reach their sexual maturity at the age of two to three. They normally live for 15-18 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity. They usually mate in a mate in late winters; the mating seasons are short, so the male does not seek another partner. They mate 12 to 36 times a day. The gestation period is 90-100 days and the litter size varies from one to five cubs. These younger snow leopards open their eyes after almost 7 days of birth and can walk when they are five. They are born with a thick coat of fur and have full black spots that turn into rosettes as they grow.
The cubs remain with their mother for almost 18-22 months. After being independent they distance themselves to seek out new hunting grounds. The gestation period is 90-100 days and the litter size varies from one to five cubs. These younger snow leopards open their eyes after almost 7 days of birth and can walk when they are five. They are born with a thick coat of fur and have full black spots that turn into rosettes as they grow. The cubs remain with their mother for almost 18-22 months. After being independent they distance themselves to seek out new hunting grounds.
The Meals During the Snow Leopard Trek:
Our trek takes us to high altitudes around 3,500m to 4,700m, which means your body will need enough starch, protein, and nutrition, as food is the body’s fuel for hiking on such massive Himalayan trails. The food on this trek is very convenient, but not as convenient as it is in cities.
There will be Breakfasts, Lunch, Dinners, Tea & coffee will be provided on the hotel. The popular menu items are:-
Breakfasts – (Oatmeal, Corn Flakes, French toast with Jam, Butter, Cheese, and Honey Tibetan bread or Chapati Local tsampa porridge, Hashed brown eggs, Varieties of eggs (Omelets) Pancakes Muesli Breads Fruits and Vegetables Hot drinks like varieties of teas and coffees Hot chocolates, etc)
Lunch – (Dhal, Bhat & Tarkari (Dal Bhat power 24 hours) Tibetan Bread Various Soups items Sherpa Stew Steaks Sandwiches Momo (dumplings) Macaroni dishes Tenduk Spaghetti Noodles Thukpa Pasta Vegetable curry Potatoes items Vegetable and salad Pizza (Tomato, Mushroom, Mixed) Snakes (Papad, Prawn) Desserts items (Rice Pudding, Apple pie), etc)
Dinners – ( Dhal, Bhat & Tarkari Tibetan Bread Various Soups items Sherpa Stew Steaks Sandwiches Momo (dumplings) Macaroni dishes Tenduk Spaghetti Noodles Thukpa Pasta Vegetable curry Potatoes items Vegetable and salad Pizza (, Tomato, Mushroom, Mixed) Snacks (Papad, Prawn) Pokada, finger chips, etc.
Dessert items – (Rice Pudding, Apple pie), Hard Drinks Steaks, etc.) are available on the menu during the trek.
The best items from the lodge’s menu are fresh, hygienic, delicious, and nutritious. Almost everywhere on the menu, there is a mix of typical local, Asian, and western cuisine, but as we get closer, the menu list will be shortened. We highly recommend liquids green tea, lemon tea, hot lemon, ginger tea, garlic soup, etc. at high altitude and also fresh vegetable items for health benefits.
Note: Manang - Hotel Mountain Lake will be our base camp. In addition to bringing a packed lunch with us, we will have breakfast and dinner at the hotel.
This is a pre-booking form for the lead traveler. We would send you the actual booking form after the confirmation
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